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Song of the Day #1749

Song of the Day: Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace ("Duel of the Fates") was composed by New York-born John Williams, who turns 88 today---the number of people in the choir accompanying the London Symphony Orchestra in this recording. This composition is one of the most brilliant, rousing symphonic pieces in the Williams repertoire. With Sanskrit lyrics based on "Cad Goddeu," an archaic Welsh poem, the track actually charted on MTV's "Total Request Live" for eleven days after its release as a single! The composer just won a Grammy Award for Best Instrumental Composition for "Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge Symphonic Suite" [YouTube link], a piece inspired by the Disney Themed Land dedicated to the "Star Wars" film franchise, which opened in the summer of 2019. Williams, who has won twenty-four Grammy Awards and five Oscar Awards (out of 52 nominations, second only to Walt Disney), has also created the music for the entire nine episodes of the central "Star Wars" franchise, including its 2019 finale, the J. J. Abrams-directed "Star Wars: Episode IX - The Rise of Skywalker," for which he has been nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Score this year. This is the fourth "Star Wars" soundtrack that has earned Williams an Oscar nomination---the others being the original 1977 Oscar-winning soundtrack for "Star Wars: Episode III - A New Hope" (for which he also won both Golden Globe and Saturn Awards); the 2015 soundtrack to "Star Wars: Episode VII - The Force Awakens" (for which he also won a Saturn Award); and the 2017 soundtrack to "Star Wars: Episode VIII - The Last Jedi". Identified as one of the greatest symphonic composers for the cinema, Williams remains a global treasure. Happy birthday, John! Check out the soundtrack album version, the official music video and the action-packed scene (spoiler alert!) [YouTube link] in the 1999 film in which this triumphant theme is heard.